Collectible toys and Mr. Pizza!
“Have fun. Eat Pizza, and enjoy life.” That is what Mr. Pizza advises.
Tony’s Pizza Service opened in 1970. The company offered a Mr. Tony squeak toy premium in the first years. The date of the squeak toy premium is questionable. I do not know why but many companies that gave out these premiums did not think they were important enough to keep a record of how many were passed out to customers and collectors.
According to “Advertising Dolls Identification Guide” © 1980 by Robinson and Sellers, Mr. Tony was a premium in 1972. They also said that initially, as character collectors could have Mr. Tony for in exchange for $1 plus two Tony’s Pizza package labels.
However in the Advertising Character Collectibles Identification and Value Guide ©1992, written by Warren Dotz, Mr. Tony was offered in 1974. Perhaps Mr. Tony was offered both years.
Other variations in the two price guide are the sizes of Mr. Tony. One book said the character squeak toy was 8 inches. The other book said 8.5 inches. The Mr. Tony in my collection is actually 8.75 inches tall when measured from the front of the chef’s hat to the bottom of the base. If it were measured from the back of the figure it is only 8.25 inches. If the figure is measured without the base included, subtract an inch.
Look for a soft, pliable vinyl figure in the likeness of Mr. Tony’s Pizza trademark. The advertising figure is made of molded white vinyl and the clothing and features are painted. Mr. Tony has a sleek, black mustache, black hairs, eyes and brows. He wears a white jacket with black button and black shoes. The trousers are paint a bright red. A tall white chef’s hat is molded to the head. Letters incised on the base of the figure reads: “Mr. Tony/ The World’s Best Frozen Pizza.
The Mr. Tony frozen pizza trademark was updated in 1995 packages of the pizza. The company brought Mr. Tony back to remind customers, “Tony’s Pizza simply taste good and it is fun to eat. So enjoy—and thank you for keeping Tony’s the first name in frozen pizza.”
The Mr. Tony on the package of frozen pizza, unlike the collectible toy, doesn’t look one bit debonair, with his bulbous nose and bushy eyebrows. He was designed to attract attention with a brilliant tomato red, chef’s hat sporting a touch of green to match Tony’s shirt.
Prices vary through the years. The value in the 1980 guide was $4 and it jumped to $25 in 1992. I saw one at a flea market priced for $50 recently. Today there is one Mr. Tony collectible on www.ebay.com priced for $19.95 with free shipping.
“Have fun, eat Pizza, and enjoy life.” Good luck finding Mr. Tony from the 1970s.